Feeding your horses in a drought can be a great source of anxiety and stress. Unfortunately periodic drought is a way of life here in Australia and it always pays to be prepared.
With hay becoming harder to find and secure you want to make sure that the hay you do have goes as far as possible.
The team here at MultiCube would like to share some drought feeding tips to help get through this tough season.
- By feeding your hay in hay nets you allow your horses to pick at feed for majority of the day. This helps to decrease their risk of ulcers by ensuring their stomach is not empty for long periods. The nets also reduce the amount of hay that might be stood on and lost through the paddock, especially in windy areas.
- Encourage your horses to finish their meals. If hay or dry feed has been left then encourage them to finish that first before providing more feed. This aims for all feed to be consumed, rather than allowing them to pick at only their favourite bits.
- Straw that is clean and good quality can be quite palatable for most horses. Try mixing it with your other hay to allow your hay stores to last longer. Straw is a great fibre source, it just lacks many vitamins and minerals found in most hays.
- Reduce your stocking density and use periodic turnout. Take some pressure off your paddocks to stop permanent damage occurring to your pasture. By reducing the number of horses on your property (ie: putting some on agistment) or locking them up overnight (for example) you reduce the load on your paddocks. What this means is that you are giving your paddocks every possible chance to bounce back if and when given the chance.
- Ensure fresh water and mineral licks are always available. Fresh water is essential for all animals. Provide mineral licks to your horses to ensure they are still receiving much needed minerals even in the toughest of conditions.
- In addition make sure you body condition score, or weight tape your horses frequently. It is much easier to maintain weight during a drought than it is to put weight on. By weight taping your horses frequently you can catch weight loss before it becomes too severe.
If you are unsure of how to body condition score your horse, visit our EQUINE FEEDING GUIDE page for more information.
*** Please note: these are just general tips, and of course each horse and situation may vary.